Time to TEL: Lower spending in MA and contrain it with a real tax and expenditure limitation

( – promoted by Garrett Quinn)

David Tuerck writing in today’s Boston Globe:

Candidates for office who want to challenge this blue-state attachment to high taxes have an important fact on their side: The “frayed-safety-net” argument doesn’t hold water. The Beacon Hill Institute calculated per-capita spending by state and local government in Massachusetts on three categories of safety-net services – public welfare, veterans services and unemployment compensation. We found that, adjusted for differences in the cost of living, Massachusetts spending thus measured exceeds safety-net spending by the country as a whole by 30 percent. It turns out that our safety net is a good deal less frayed than the public employee unions would have us believe.

The solution is to impose a tax and expenditure limitation on state spending, either through a constitutional amendment or a simple act of self-restraint by the Legislature. A tax and expenditure limitation proposed by the Beacon Hill Institute would limit the growth of spending to the growth of population plus inflation, thus maintaining a steady flow of services per person. It would eliminate the structural deficit and obviate emergency budget cuts in lean years. Had such a limitation been in effect since 1999, the state would have come close to meeting its 2010 spending target without the need for $1.32 billion in new taxes that it imposed on state consumers and corporations.

The full BHI study Massachusetts Fiscal

Policy: The Legend v. the

Facts

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The Beacon Hill Institute engages in rigorous economic research and conducts educational programs for the purpose of producing and disseminating readable analyses of current public policy issues to voters, taxpayers, opinion leaders and policy makers.